Posts Tagged ‘rituals’


New Rituals: You Won’t Believe This One!

Posted on: December 3rd, 2009 by Hayim Herring No Comments

Last week I asked you to share new rituals that you had heard about. Thank you for responding! While some of you responded on this blog, others wrote to me through Facebook or Twitter. Aren’t social media wonderful for purposes like these?! In no particular order, here is a summary of your ideas, plus a few of my own:

• Rabbi Mel Glazer: has an entire service on Blessing of the Pets, which he instituted years ago on Parashat Noach; many Synaplex™ synagogues have done so as well.
• Gary Stern: suggests creating an “Ally of the Jewish People” ritual, for someone who hasn’t formally converted to Judaism, but wants to actively participate in the life of the Jewish community.
• Rabbi Daniel Alter: bat mitzvah in the Orthodox community and zeved ha-bat (ritual for naming a new-born Jewish girl). Rabbi Alter notes that within the Orthodox community, many new or recovered rituals have been inspired by Feminism.
• Additionally, there has been a growth of rituals outside of the Orthodox for girls and women, GLBT Jews, and bedtime rituals for children.
•  Lighting a yellow candle for Yom ha-Shoah, invented by the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs:
• From Rabbi Mordechai Rackover: at the secular synagogue in Tel Aviv they make Havdallah between Yom ha-Zikaron and Yom ha—Atzma’ut.; Also from Rabbi Rackover: Men going to mikva on the same day their wives do (in observance of the laws of family purity).
• Developing non-Orthodox Chevrah Kadisha groups which are based in synagogues or the community-see Kavod v’Nichum, an organization that has lead this initiative:
• Creating just workplaces in kosher restaurants and providing a certificate attesting to it:
• Sending e-greeting cards for Jewish holidays, often with decent artwork.
• Holding an ecological Tu b’Shevat Seder.
• Holding a Tikkun Leil Shavuot—something that has taken root outside of the Orthodox community.

And, I also heard a few miscellaneous comments worth noting:
• A number of people recommended, which is an excellent user-generated resource for new lifecycle rituals. (You can also find out about the history of the “orange on the seder plate” ritual there.) Also, a few people said that they search the Reform Movement’s website:
• Rabbi Kerry Olitzky found that men are not experimenting with rituals in the same way that women are.
• Jonathan Freed wrote: “My father purchased me from our Orthodox synagogue for $1 following my Brit Milah,”—is anyone familiar with this one?

Thank you for your help and I’ll be doing further analysis in article that I’m writing about ritual. So—if you remember additional ones, please don’t hesitate to add to the list.

Rabbi Hayim Herring

In Search of New Rituals

Posted on: November 25th, 2009 by Hayim Herring No Comments

I’m in search of new rituals. I’ve been asked to write an article on the development of new rituals, which is certainly a broad topic, and the most enriching way to do so is to tap into your knowledge. I don’t want to define what a new ritual is too tightly because I’d like you to think expansively and consider the range of innovation in rituals which we’ve witnessed over the past several decades. But, here are a few flexible guidelines to stimulate your thinking about this intriguing topic.

By new ritual, I’m thinking:

I’m sure that there are other possible criteria, but again, these illustrations are to help jog your memory about new rituals which you are practicing, have observed or perhaps even created.

I’m also interested in learning about the origins of these rituals from you. For those who identify with a religious denomination, did they originate from within your denomination on the grassroots, regional or national level? Or did several synagogues within the denomination begin observing it and then the national structure helped to disseminate it? To what extent did wider social trends help to foster the ritual (feminism, inclusion of the GLBT community in Jewish life, eco-kosher)? How did you learn about these rituals?

Once I hear from you, I’ll compile a list of what I’ve learned and post it on Tools for Shuls. I’m eager to hear what you have to say and thank you in advance!

Rabbi Hayim Herring